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Thread: What's up with the Endurance results?

  1. #1
    I was looking at the scores for 2004 and only about 40 of the 134 teams actually scored in the endurance/fuel economy...why?! It seems like it would be a hard course to run, but do most team's cars break down that much?

    Our team has never been in this competition and we need to get some idea of what to expect.

    I like these forums, they've got good info floating around...

    Erin Urvina
    University of Alaska Anchorage
    FSAE '06 Team Leader

  2. #2
    I was looking at the scores for 2004 and only about 40 of the 134 teams actually scored in the endurance/fuel economy...why?! It seems like it would be a hard course to run, but do most team's cars break down that much?

    Our team has never been in this competition and we need to get some idea of what to expect.

    I like these forums, they've got good info floating around...

    Erin Urvina
    University of Alaska Anchorage
    FSAE '06 Team Leader

  3. #3
    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Erin:
    ...but do most team's cars break down that much? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

    YES!!
    It seems like such a simple thing to build a racecar that can drive for 13.66 miles. It is actually a monumental challenge. It is probably difficult to appreciate it until you get pretty far into the project. I think that the percentage of cars that completed the endurance was actually up this year. So yes, there is massive attrition during the endurance event and throughout the weekend.

    Just having a car that can make it through tech inspection is an accomplishment. I was actually very proud and relieved when we got all three stickers from tech last year.

    Figure out a way to get several team members to competition this May. It will be more valuable than any part you can buy for the car.

    And good luck at the first UAA FSAE meeting.
    James Waltman
    VRI at WWU Alumn
    FSAE 01 to 05
    http://dot.etec.wwu.edu/fsae/

  4. #4
    Yup, there are a million reasons cars don't finish endurance. Here are a few, close to ranking order:

    1) DNS (did not start the event, car wasn't ready)
    2) Engine wouldn't start after the driver change
    3) Overheated (most likely during / after the driver change)
    4) Leaking fluids caught in the driver change
    5) Mechanical / Electrical Failure On Course
    6) Driver Error - tearing off bodywork by hitting cones at a high rate of speed, resulting in a black flag / DNF
    7) Out of gas, or fuel surge issues
    8) Tornado
    Alumni, University of Washington
    Structural / Mechanical Engineer, Blue Origin

  5. #5
    Biggest reason: Team has never tried to run an endurance race.

    That's why you see so many seemingly idiotic little failures. Just no way to know everything's perfect unless you run the car like it's intended. Of course this is no guarantee but it helps. Attention to detail will get you the rest of the way.

    We failed endurace my 2nd year. It sucks. You don't wanna know how it feels. It's a good motivating factor though. We finished the next 5 with no problems.
    -Charlie Ping

    Auburn FSAE Alum 00-04

  6. #6
    So what can a team do to prepare for the endurance race? Wouldn't it be too risky to drive your car 13.66 miles right before the competition since they generally break down. Then you would have to scramble to fix it and do follow-up reports on the work you did to it, only a few weeks before the car is "due".

    It almost sounds like its something you just kind of hope that it works...

  7. #7
    No, you can't build your car on the philosophy that it's only supposed to last 13 miles. You have to test and test, do multiple endurance simulations per weekend for several weeks. Weed out the failures, they will be design / manufacturing / assembly issues, not wear issues. If you have any wear issues in endurance testing, other than the standard consumables, that's a problem that should be fixed.

    This strategy pays off in that after the competition, you will have a car to drive the next year for testing and driver training. Driver skill is a huge part of the equation.

    I agree with Charlie, DNF'ing endurance in '03 (within reach of 4th) was a big part of our success in '04.
    Alumni, University of Washington
    Structural / Mechanical Engineer, Blue Origin

  8. #8
    Erin,
    Trust me - you want it to break at home even if it is the night before you leave. It sucks when it breaks at competition.

    I think the car should be driving by mid-March at the latest if you want to have time to sort out all of the problems. I know that mid-March usually means snow is still on the ground in Anchorage. (I'm from Anchorage.) The Anchorage School district starts the soccer season in mid-March and we always had to practice indoors for the first few weeks of the season. Maybe some night in early March you can sneak some coal dust on a big parking lot in town to help melt the snow.

    Maybe these guys can help you out: Arctic Alaska Region of the SCCA
    James Waltman
    VRI at WWU Alumn
    FSAE 01 to 05
    http://dot.etec.wwu.edu/fsae/

  9. #9
    One more reason teams don't score endurance: The times are slower than XX% of the fastest time and no points are awarded anyway. I imagine that would be a big disappointment too. Some teams have this problem because they've never even driven their car before competition.

    Test.
    Greg Hartman
    Cessna Aircraft
    Mizzou Racing 2003-2006

  10. #10
    I've got to agree with James, Denny, Charlie and Greg. Test as much as you can.

    In our first year we had a solid 3.5 months testing before the competition and it was only just enough. You will break things on the car, so you may as well break them at home and have time to fix them. With our first car we broke pretty much everything on it and learned a huge amount from that. Our last three cars have been very reliable; i think we have only had 5 failures in the last 3 years of testing and competitions.

    For a first year team aiming for the 06 usa comp i'd aim to have the car ready to drive by early january. It may sound early but you'll need that much time as a minimum to get the car and drivers up to standard. Getting it moving under its own power as early as you can is critical. You will then find some things are under designed and some are over designed. This early start will give you time to rebuild components.

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